Fresh is better than stale, right? Sure applies to bread. Also, to political candidates. Such as the people running for Mayor and four City Council seats in Salem's upcoming May election.
Salem voters have a clear choice between two groups of candidates. Fresh or Stale?
The three Chamber of Commerce-backed candidates (along with Councilor Brad Nanke, who is unopposed for re-election) promise more of the same.
Top-of-the-ticket guy Chuck Bennett, the Chamber's choice for Mayor, makes this clear in the positions I've heard him take. How depressingly stale is this?
-- More ignoring of what ordinary citizens see as best for Salem, while paying rapt attention to special interests and this town's version of the 1%.
-- More wasteful spending on planning for an unneeded half-billion dollar Third Bridge that would mean a $1.50 each-way toll on both the new and current bridges.
-- More sprawl, more trees cut down for no good reason, more lifeless shopping centers like ghastly Keizer Station.
-- More small-hopes for low paying warehouse jobs at business parks far from Salem's urban core, rather than investing in Smart Growth that will make this town attractive to cutting-edge 21st century businesses.
-- More lucrative tax breaks for Salem's already rich and powerful, while ordinary citizens get nickel-and-dimed to death by the City of Salem.
Fortunately, there's a Fresh Choice. I urge you to consider voting for these creative, concerned, compassionate candidates.
Salem can't move forward with Chamber of Commerce-backed elected officials. The Chamber is stuck in a 1950's mentality of pave, pave, pave; sprawl, sprawl, sprawl; cars, cars, cars.
It's like Dwight Eisenhower is still president, not Barack Obama.
Citizens who care about making Salem into a town that works for everybody, not just the already rich-and-powerful, should vote for Fresh, not Stale.
Salem currently is being led by a Mayor and City Council majority who view citizen participation as an irritant. They put on outward happy-face smiles in public meetings while fuming inside when anyone challenges their predetermined policy pronouncements.
Their policies almost always bow at the altar of Salem’s version of the 1%, who already are rich and powerful, yet desire more wealth and influence. Not coincidentally, municipal elections typically are bought by money from the Chamber of Commerce and special interest groups.
So even though Salem’s citizens authentically want their town to be more environmentally friendly, caring of our historic heritage, compassionate toward those in need, and economically equitable, the Powers That Be divert our attention from pressing problems by trying to persuade us that everything is fine, don’t listen to the boo-birds, and, hey, how about that Angry Owl?!
Sadly, the Statesman Journal, a sorry excuse for a community newspaper, has surrendered its journalistic credentials, including any attempts at serious investigative reporting, and become a simplistic cheerleader for the Pollyannaish civic boosterism crowd, filling its pages with human interest stories.
Our City officials would rather waste half a billion dollars on an unneeded Third Bridge than deal with problems concerning the homeless, bicycle infrastructure, tree preservation, downtown vitalization, earthquake safety, and many other pressing concerns.
Salemians need to take back their town. Speak out loudly, confidently, passionately. And vote! In every election, May and November.